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The Shed at the National Theatre (photo Phillip Vile)

The Shed at the National Theatre

National Theatre to stage new Stoppard

Published 20 March 2014

Ten world premieres, including new pieces from Tom Stoppard and David Hare, are central to Nicholas Hytner’s final season as Director of the National Theatre, which was announced today.

Stoppard’s latest play, which is shrouded in secrecy, will open at the National’s new Dorfman Theatre in January 2015. Hare’s Behind The Beautiful Forevers, based on Katherine Boo’s National Book Award winning novel, plays in the Olivier from November. The tale of life in a makeshift Mumbai settlement is the final production in the Travelex £15 season.

Joining Hare’s new play, which will be directed by Hytner’s successor Rufus Norris, in the Travelex season is Greek tragedy Medea, which will open in July. Helen McCrory returns to the National, where she was last seen in The Last Of The Haussmans, to take the title role in the production directed by Carrie Cracknell.

The previously announced co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland, The James Plays, take to the Olivier stage from September and will be followed by family show Treasure Island for the festive season. The swashbuckling tale is adapted for the National Theatre by Bryony Lavery, whose play The Believers runs at the Tricycle Theatre in April, and will be directed by Polly Findlay.

In the Lyttelton Theatre, DV8 Physical Theatre returns in October, also as part of the Travelex season, with new production John.

Prior to DV8’s production the Lyttelton will host a new show that reunites One Man, Two Guvnors collaborators Richard Bean and Hytner. The new play, about which little is known, will run in the summer following 1927’s The Animals And Children Took To The Streets, which plays in May.

Another reunion, that of Cillian Murphy with writer and director Enda Walsh who came together on 2011’s acclaimed production of Misterman, comes with September’s Ballyturk. Walsh’s new play also stars Stephen Rae and Mikel Murfi.

Croatian writer Tena Štivičić will premiere her new play, directed by Howard Davies, on the Lyttelton stage in December. This will be followed by the recently announced production of Man And Superman starring Ralph Fiennes.

Stoppard’s drama is joined in the newly renovated Dorfman Theatre by the Marianne Elliott-directed Rules For Living, the latest play by Sam Holcroft. The winner of the 2014 Windham-Campbell Literature Prize (Drama), which comes with a $150,000 purse, returns to the National where her play Edgar And Annabel ran as part of the 2011 Paint Frame season.

The Dorfman will open this autumn with an as yet undisclosed production that, at today’s press conference, Hytner confirmed would be a UK premiere.

Speaking to assembled press, Hytner also confirmed that though permission had been sought to extend the tenure of temporary auditorium The Shed, the National’s big red box would not become a permanent fixture, not least because it was not built to last.

A year after it was staged at the Park Theatre, Pulitzer Prize finalist Yellow Face will play at The Shed this May. It will be followed by Hotel, the new play by That Face and Tusk Tusk playwright Polly Stenham.

The continued presence of The Shed means that the National Theatre’s annual Watch This Space Festival will be pulling on its metaphorical walking boots and taking a stroll round London. The hub of the festival, which runs through July and August, will be St John’s Church on Waterloo Roundabout, though unexpected performances will pop up across Lambeth and Southwark.

 Speaking about the shows he has chosen to direct in his final season, Hytner said:I’m really not keen on doing the grand farewell. I think the 50th birthday gala was my goodbye. I’m now just doing a couple of little echoes.”

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